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The Christmas Menorahs
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The Christmas Menorahs:
How a Town Fought Hate

By Janice I. Cohn

Illustrated by Bill Farnsworth

New edition published in 2023

Book Reviews:

“Thank you Janice Cohn for all your work to record this inspiring event which occurred in Billings, Montana in 1993…this touching, unforgettable book will inspire generations to come to speak out against hatred.  If I had a magic wand, I would wish this book into every household.”

 —Skipping Stones Magazine

 

“A must-have book for all ages—child and adult. Powerful.”

 —American Bookseller

 

“[An] Inspiring true story”

 —Instructor Magazine

 

“[An] important story about religious freedom”

 —Library Talk

 

 “A fine book for parents and teachers who want to discuss prejudice and hate crimes with their children, with background information provided in the introduction.” 

—Booklist

 

“Although this says juvenile literature, I think it is a book that everyone should read or have read to them.”

 —State Library Division, State of Utah

 

“The holidays may be over, but this triumphant true tale of contagious good will from Billings, Montana will delight grade-schoolers all year long.” 

—Austin American Statesman

Synopsis:

This beloved and inspiring children’s book, now updated and expanded for a new generation, recounts the true story of how an American town took a stand against hate and antisemitism during the holiday season of 1993.

When a rock is thrown through a young Jewish child’s bedroom window in Billings, Montana, the entire community unites, working together to take action. Their response, inspired by the rescue of the Danish Jews 50 years earlier, shows how love and courage can conquer hate.

This expanded 30th anniversary edition includes additional material on the events in Billings, including interviews and a discussion guide, and invites us all to be upstanders in the face of injustice. At a time of division and incivility in our country, with the alarming rise of antisemitism and other forms of bigotry, true stories like The Christmas Menorahs are needed more than ever to show children and adults alike what our “better angels” can achieve.

Bill Farnsworth’s beautiful oil paintings illuminate the message of the power of goodness.

I Had a Friend Names Peter
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I Had a Friend Named Peter: Talking to Children about the Death of a Friend

By Janice I. Cohn

Illustrated by Gail Owens

Publisher: Morrow Junior Books

(1987)

Book Reviews:

“...practical and perceptive”

—The New York Times Book Review

 

“...an incredibly moving and reassuring book”

 —American Bookseller

 

[a] fine, useful [book] that will help not only children but the adults who guide them, as well”

 —Kirkus Reviews

 

“...exceptionally accurate and understanding”

 —School Library Journal

 

“...sensitive and reassuring”

 —Kids’ World Tribune

 

“This book will be helpful to parents and teachers who want to talk with children about death.”

 —Book List

Synopsis:

When a child dies, parents and teachers are faced with a dilemma.  Should the child’s friends and classmates be told what has happened?  How much should they be told?  Does altering the truth protect children or harm them?

In this sensitive, reassuringly illustrated story, Betsy learns of the sudden death of her friend Peter, and her parents help her cope with the news.  Betsy wonders: Will I die, too?  Did I somehow cause the death?  Will the funeral be scary?  Will Peter be cold and lonely after he’s buried?  Later, Betsy is able to create a special tribute to Peter and is comforted by the knowledge that Peter will never be forgotten.

An introduction by Dr. Cohn discusses guidelines from experts that answer the questions parents and teachers may have about talking to children about death, including how death should be explained to a very young child, whether a child should be encouraged to go to the funeral of a friend, and what kinds of reactions children may exhibit.

Betsy’s story can be shared by parents and children to help them cope with a difficult time—and to show children that, as Betsy learned, people may die but memories last forever.

Why did it happen?
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Why Did it Happen? Helping Children Cope in a Violent World

By Janice I. Cohn

Illustrated by Gail Owens

Publisher: Morrow Junior Books

(1994)

Book Reviews:

“‘This book is meant to be read and discussed with children after a violent event has occurred or when children are simply grappling with the implications of living in a violent world,’ explains Cohn in her thoughtful introductory note to parents.  She emphasizes the importance of encouraging youngsters to communicate their anxieties and fears about violence, and suggests ways to help them to develop empathy.  An ideal springboard for parent/child dialogue.”

—Publishers Weekly


“An excellent book for both school librarians and parents to share with their young children.”

 —School Library Journal

 

[a] fine, useful [book] that will help not only children but the adults who guide them, as well”

 —Kirkus Reviews

 

“exceptionally accurate and understanding”

 —School Library Journal

Synopsis:

Children today live in a violent world.  Violence is on TV, in the movies, and in the news; it’s also in our neighborhoods, schools and homes.  While it is impossible to completely shield children from violence, there are many positive things parents and other caring adults can do to help children deal with the effects of violence on their lives.

In this warmly written and reassuringly illustrated story, Daniel learns that Mr. James, his favorite neighborhood shopkeeper, has been robbed.  Daniel is upset and frightened by the news.  He worries: Why did the robber steal from Mr. James?  What if the police don’t catch the man and he hurts my family?  Then Daniel’s parents and teacher encourage him to talk about his fears and questions.  After a while, he finds a special way to help Mr. James, and that makes Daniel feel better and less afraid.

Dr. Cohn offers practical advice adults can use to help children cope with violence in the world around them, including specific things children can do to make themselves feel safe and how to help children develop feelings of compassion.  Daniel’s story shows children that, while bad things may happen, there’s a lot they can do to comfort themselves and others.

 

Molly's Rosebrush
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Home

Molly's Rosebrush

By Janice I. Cohn, 

Illustrated by Gail Owens

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co.

(1993)

Book Reviews:

“[A] charming and very insightful book.”

 —T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.

   

“A gentle, honest story about Molly, whose mother suffers a miscarriage.”

—School Library Journal

 

“An excellent addition to the Parenting Shelf”

—Booklist


“A beautiful book to help parents and young children deal with the loss caused by miscarriage.”

 —Media Services, Lane Education Service District

 

“A difficult subject, miscarriage, is tastefully handled in this story which could be used to soothe the grieving spirits of both parents and surviving siblings.”

 —Lufkin High School, Lufkin, TX

 

“This is an excellent resource for church libraries and pastors.”

 —Provident Book Finder

Synopsis:

A miscarriage is a special kind of loss.  With it comes the death of the family's hopes, expectations and plans surrounding the birth of a child.  When a miscarriage occurs, there are usually no rituals or religious observances to help people heal.  Yet there has been a genuine loss which affects both children and adults.

Molly’s Rosebush was written to help young children understand and cope with a miscarriage.  In this sensitive, beautifully illustrated book, Molly is looking forward to becoming a big sister.  But one day, Mommy and Daddy have some sad news for her.  Something has gone wrong, and now the baby Mommy was carrying will not be born.  “It’s sort of like when a flower bud doesn’t get to blossom into a flower,” her parents tell her.  “Even when a Mommy takes very good care of the baby inside her, sometimes it’s just not strong enough to live.”  Molly’s parents help her with the difficult emotions she experiences, and she and her grandmother ultimately find a way to help comfort Molly’s parents and herself.

Molly’s Rosebush, which grew out of several years of work that Dr. Cohn has done with women who have experienced miscarriage, includes an introduction for parents providing information about how to talk to young children about this difficult subject.

 

A Very Good Feeling
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By Janice I. Cohn

Illustrated by Yana Holubiatnikova

Synopsis:

Young Artem lives in Ukraine and, when war breaks out, his father stays to fight for freedom while Artem and his mother take the train to safety in neighboring Poland. Sad and confused, Artem worries about his father and his own future. But warm meals served by Paolo, a volunteer with World Central Kitchen, and the kindness of Paolo and others give him strength and hope.

In an interconnecting storyline, Hannah, a girl in the United States, worries about the plight of Ukrainian children and finds a way to dispel her own feelings of helplessness and take action.

 A Note About the Artwork From the Book’s Author


Yana Holubiatnikova’s beautiful and haunting artwork illuminates A Very Good Feeling. Her talent as an artist is magnified by the fact that she is living the truth depicted in her illustrations.

Yana lives in Kherson, Ukraine, a war zone she will not leave. During the Russian occupation of her home town, she had to forage for food for her son and her pets while never missing a day of painting in her studio.

To me, she exemplifies the spirit and resilience of her fellow Ukrainians who persevere in the face of daily hardship and deprivation.

A portion of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the Ukraine Children’s Action Project (UCAP), which is responding to the urgent educational and psychological needs of the children of Ukraine. The co-founders, Irwin and Karen Redlener, have been supportive of A Very Good Feeling since its inception and made it possible, with the help of UCAP’s Yuliia Kardash, for the author to find the perfect illustrator.

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